10 Reasons Why Seafarers Do Not Go Ashore

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2023 | Recreation, Seaman's Life | 0 comments

Contrary to many popular beliefs, it’s not always shore leave day for seafarers whenever they dock at ports. Most of the time, they are busy, tired, or saving their money for the family.

Every time I invite my fellow seaman to hit the nearest mall, I always get one of these replies on why they don’t want to go ashore.

1. Video Call With Family

My wife is waiting for me so I must be online after my watch.says my crew mate.

Even if the port is actually iconic, interesting, or near, it won’t be so enticing for a seaman if he misses his family. There is also another “term” seafarers use to keep them excited on their next chat with her and that is,

Sisilip kay Misis!

A light blue circular web cam that looks like an eyeball.

2. Avoid Temptation

The most effective way to avoid temptation is to not expose yourself to them. A seaman’s life is hard and looking at pretty girls in pubs could “heat up” his engines. To stay faithful, seafarers avoid the lure of going for shore leave.

That’s right. The right seaman will find ways to avoid temptation even if you don’t supervise him every day.

3. Saving Money

Or in the more precise term, “deep financial needs” (matinding pangangailingan pre). Even if seafarers are earning much, they always save their money on board for their families.

Tuition fees, house payments, medical expenses, car loans, or anything that their family needs are always prioritized over their own.

This is actually responsible. He’s making the most of his hard-earned money. But remember that we too need to unwind sometimes.

4. Too Expensive

Sometimes, even if a seaman creates a budget for shore leave, he usually pulls the plug after knowing that a one-way ride to the city costs 20 Euros by taxi.

That’s already too much especially if you are going alone. But if the budget is higher, there’s a service car from the seaman’s center, or the agent gives a free ride, then why not?

On the other hand, shoreleave is actually not THAT expensive compared to what many seafarers believe. Trust me on this. I’ve been to London with less than €50.00 in my pocket!

5. Rest Hours

After long pilotage, seafarers usually find themselves tired and beaten up. Then when on the berth, they too must also perform watches during the whole operation. The worst that could happen is when bunkering, stores, provisions, inspections, and service technicians arrive on the same day.

This is one of the most tiring moments every seaman experiences.

A man on his belly sleeping in bed.

6. No Cash Advance

There are times when the Captain or the company only allows a certain amount for a maximum cash advance and schedules it twice or once a month.

If the ship visits many interesting ports in a single month or if they send money to their family through off-signers, seafarers could find their shore leave budget dry.

They had to wait the next month before they could get another cash advance from the ship.

7. Strict Ports and Terminals

Not all places welcome seafarers with happy smiles, hugs, and handshakes. There are ports that have very high requirements before they can go ashore.

Take for example in the US. You won’t be allowed to tread American soil even on the jetty when you don’t have a US Visa.

Not only pertinent visas. Some ports implement level two (or three) security and this will automatically foil your plan to go ashore. This is because the vessel must also raise its ISPS security level and more crew is required to perform such tasks.

8. Very Short Port Stay

Another reason seafarers do not go ashore is the very quick cargo operation. It could last from three hours to six hours, to twenty-four hours.

There could only be a few containers needed to load or the loading rate is very fast and another ship is awaiting next to them.

Since shipping nowadays is making fast businesses, being on schedule is paramount to charterers and ship operators.

9. Far From Civilization

A ship could stay in a port for a day, a week, or sometimes, a month. But not all ports are near the city and this is mostly experienced by tanker vessels.

The nearest town could be found ten or twenty kilometers away and you have to walk a few kilometers to the taxi or bus station.

Tanker ships of various sizes especially VLCCs and ULCCs seldom berth near the shore but are usually found conducting their operations at sea.

The only way to go ashore is by helicopter which is quicker but very costly on the company’s side, or a service boat that takes three or more hours to reach the shore.

By the time they reach land, seafarers are already tired and beaten up by the waves during the long travel.

A busy container port terminal with a ship docking and unloading her cargo.

10. Unfamiliar Ports

When traveling first time to a port, a seafarer’s first concern is his safety. If he is not familiar with the port or the locals around do not speak English, then going ashore is not an option. He could get lost and going back to the ship is a very big problem.

Accounting for a bad experience in a particular port also creates fear of going ashore. After hearing this kind of story, a seaman’s desire for a shore leave usually turns cold.


These are the most common reasons seafarers do not go ashore when asked or invited. Most of the time, it’s about family matters.

But for me, I balance it by giving time to my family and going ashore whenever possible. I actually made the most shore leaves before COVID-19 hit.

It was also the time when I got promoted and that restricted me from going ashore as often as before. Who knows what could happen next?

Do you have special reasons why you don’t want to go ashore?

May the winds be in your favor.

Gibi

0 Comments

Write your comments here.